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Power-less in college!

Electricity plays a big role in deciding the daily schedules of students in north India, says Nikhil Taneja.

In the guise of exquisitely garnished promises, engineering students of deemed government institutions in the North are fed lies on orientation day. Apart from the usual ‘ragging-free environment’, ‘healthy senior-junior relationship’ and ‘above average living conditions in the hostel’, the ’24-hour electricity’ claim hurts the most is. Ouch!

Initially, students felt that the electricity suffers from a weak heart, and happens to go through a series of near-death experiences. But today, the condition has deteriorated to an extent that it’s shocking when there is no power cut in a day. The poor students have eventually come to realize that they are in fact ‘power-less’ against the electricity board’s hobby of blanking out electricity from engineering colleges.

So, students now plan their time tables of a day keeping the electricity in mind. Things like ‘Start studying after power is restored’, or ‘go to toilet or go to sleep during power cut’, or ‘make sure to buy new batteries for torch before power cut’ are seen quite frequently on time tables. The only problem is that on some days the electricity board forgets to torment students, or cuts power during unexpected hours. The poor students keep waiting for the power cut – but to no avail. This sometimes results in dust-laden books, insomnia, deserted toilets and upset stomachs. And of course, also results in unadulterated frustration.

To overcome this frustration, students indulge in innocent abuse games. Each student shouts out his innermost feelings, either to the electricity board, or the college or to exams, or to life in general; the one with the most ear-piercing vocal cords and the most extensive dictionary of expletives wins. Sometimes, good ole antakshari works as well.

And it is panademonium when students are visited by the ‘ghost of electricity past’ during college hours, especially during the height of summer. They spend more time with their handkerchiefs than with their books or tentative spouses! Deodorant sales see an exponential rise. All sorts of hand-fans or battery operated fans become indispensable and during examination time, while emergency lights are the order of the day… Nokia 1100 works for quite a few!

With such ‘above average living conditions’ in the hostel, I wonder what
students would have to go through if the conditions start to deteriorate! God bless 24-hours of electricity. May its soul R.I.P.

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